Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Crime’

Extended stay motels help some, but hurt others

June 22, 2011 2 comments

City sees no room for hotel living  | ajc.com.

When I started reading this article, my thoughts wandered to the extended stay motels that dot the central part of South DeKalb. I can count at least twelve that I know of, so I am sure there are a dozen more I overlooked. I never really liked extended stays because they seem to be a magnet for crime no matter where they are. If you have ever driven south on Candler between I-20 and 285, you can see that many of the problems of prostitution, open drug deals, and general mayhem can be traced in part back to the extended stays in that corridor. After reading the above article, I realized that these places do serve a purpose for a small number of folks who have found traditional housing to be a challenge. I was really struck by one woman who described a situation where she found it nearly impossible to get an apartment through standard means.:

She recently found work as a shift manager at a Checkers fast-food restaurant. Harris runs the register, supervises four employees and opens or closes the restaurant depending on the schedule for $10 per hour.

That doesn’t leave much for savings, which is critical if Harris wants to move into her own place. Her application at a local apartment complex was recently denied after her credit report turned up an old unsettled bill. She was especially frustrated that she lost $20 on the application fee.

Other places have told her that her criminal record disqualifies her from consideration. Another complex accepted her application but wanted first and last month’s rent, which totaled $1,050.

Harris was forced to keep looking.

This woman has had some obvious challenges, and extended stay is her last option before living on the streets. And when there are children involved it makes it that much more distressing.

I would like to see DeKalb crack down on extended stays, but not to the point of pushing them out of business. Property owners should be held accountable for criminal activities that occur on their property. If there are code violations, the owners should be made to bring their property up to code or face stiff fines. And the police should put more resources into cleaning out problematic motels. If I, a normal citizen can see criminal activity from my car without having to stop and look for it, I have to believe the cops and the motel owners see it as well.

 

Issues South DeKalb should keep an eye on.

June 7, 2011 1 comment

Congressional District Lines

the redrawing of congressional lines and legislature lines will take center stage this summer. In August, a special session will begin the process of redrawing district lines to accommodate this states increase in population. As it stands the legislature will have 14 districts to draw as oppose to 13. Since republicans control all three branches of state government, you can expect Democrats to fare poorly during this once a decade redrawing. I for one hope the legislature looks at how DeKalb is carved up. DeKalb, with a population around 750 thousand has 4 congressional districts. That’s more than Fulton or Gwinnett. The legislature should bring all of DeKalb that is not in the 6th district or in the city of Atlanta back into the fourth. See a possible district breakdown here. DeKalb is basically an urban county with issues that more align with the central city than with more rural areas like Rockdale, or Henry, or South Fulton county. It is going to be interesting to see how the legislature deals with DeKalb. Aside from the congressional redrawing,  what could have a greater impact on DeKalb is the representation in the statehouse. As the AJC has reported on several occasions, DeKalb, along with Fulton has not kept pace in terms of growth with its exurban counterparts. In the state legislature DeKalb could lose a seat or two, weakening its delegation in the statehouse. That weakening would be a strengthening for a county like Forsyth wich has only a fraction of the population of DeKalb. If DeKalb does lose a seat or two, we all can guess where those seats will come from. If you want more info on the redrawing, check out this Google search

Transportation

In the fall people all across the Metro area will vote whether or not to tax themselves an additional penny to fund transportation infrastructure throughout the region. By late August we should know exactly wich projects voters will be asked to fund. Many projects will affect South DeKalb. Things like mass transit, road improvements and interchange improvements are all on the list for DeKalb. I have stated in a prior post that I am not against a self-imposed tax for better transportation service throughout the metro. What I fear is that DeKalb residents will pay more and receive less. Rail service has been talked about in South DeKalb for decades, but none has materialized. The state DOT has already nixed the idea of rail service to Conyers, and rightfully so. The density of the population that far out just doesn’t warrant it just yet. But some sort of rail service to South DeKalb is long overdue. Two options benefitting South DeKalb could be placed on the final list for voters to approve. One  is rail transit from downtown to Candler Road and the other is  an extension of the Blue Line to Wesley Chapel. The cynic in me says neither will get the needed support from the roundtable that is tasked with providing the final list. If the final list comes out, and all we get in DeKalb are interchange improvements and other areas get more options, I would be inclined to say no to a new tax. But I will keep an open mind about the whole thing.

Policing

A friend of mine had his home broken into recently. The police responded and we started talking about police coverage where he lives. What he told me was astonishing. He said on any given night there are four cars patrolling an area from Moreland Avenue to Wesley Chapel/Flakes Mill Rd south of I-20. Yea that’s a huge area. I was shocked that an area that is so huge would have only four cars. My first instinct was to think the officer was exaggerating, but when a second car showed up, he said the same thing without knowing what we and the previous officer had spoken about. After a little bit of searching, I found this map of the South Precinct. If these divisions represent individual beats within the precinct, then I can see how its possible for only four cars to patrol the area. But even worse is that these same areas are becoming crime-ridden but a surge in police coverage has not kept pace.  It seems to me that the police are in a respond to incidents stage than proactively policing areas that are vulnerable to criminal activity.

Long and violent summer to come?

May 6, 2011 1 comment

Three dead, one critically wounded in DeKalb shooting and standoff  | ajc.com.

DeKalb police chase ends with suspect shooting himself  | ajc.com.

I went to bed and the last thing I saw was a story on the news about a suspect who robbed folks in Lithonia and at South DeKalb Mall. The suspect allegedly shot himself on Bouldercrest Road. I wake up this morning, and the first thing to greet me on the morning news was a stand-off between DeKalb SWAT and a suspect who had shot a couple of people. In the end three people would be dead. in a little over twelve hours, 4 people were dead, one critically injured and several people shaken up. All of this in a relatively small area in South DeKalb. I normally don’t comment about individual crimes, but two high profile crimes in such a short time is quite a feat even by South DeKalb standards. the saying “long, hot summer” could take on a whole new meaning this year

DeKalb Police flex muscle in South DeKalb

April 19, 2011 4 comments

For those of you who have driven in South DeKalb for the last few weekends has probably notice the increased presence of DeKalb police especially in the Glenwood and Candler Road areas. I attend church on Glenwood, and have gotten used to seeing a large presence there to counteract what some call ‘Glenwood Day” which typically happens sometime in April. This year seems a bit different though. DeKalb has seemed to stretch their presence much further out than the Glenwood road area. Every weekend in April of this year, I have seen them in large numbers on up and down Columbia, Memorial, Candler and some of the side streets in the area. I myself was pulled over After my wife undid her buckle to check on our son who was in his car seat in the back. The officer questioned us for a minute or so and sent us on our way. (He was unusually polite, must have been my church clothes) Zero tolerance seems to mean zero tolerance right now. Now we know where the officers who used to patrol Dunwoody ended up. I for one am glad to see the police being proactive and possibly removing violent men and women off the streets of South DeKalb. I do have to wonder though, with the budget mess and other issues in the county, How long will this show of force last. A long and sustained show of force, along with residents doing their part, would make the area a much more pleasant place to be. If this thing is short lived, then I have to wonder why do it at all.

Breakfast with Stan Watson and Friends

April 6, 2011 3 comments

An update to this post. After some bouncing around, I found a story about a bill that would have granted a charter to a new City of Brookhaven. House Bill 636 was sponsored by Mike Jacobs and Tom Taylor who represent the North DeKalb area. The bill was dropped by Jacobs, but his HB 428 is still alive.

 

This past weekend I attended one of the many breakfast sessions that DeKalb Commissioner Stan Watson holds on a regular basis. I went to the meeting because the line-up was a who’s who of South DeKalb democratic politicians. Alongside Stan, was fellow commissioner Lee May, Several state legislators including Rahn Mayo, Howard Mosby, and Pam Stephenson. Also in attendance, John Evans from the NAACP and Jesse Cunningham, who was there as a replacement for Superintendent Ramona Tyson who could not make it. There were members of the DeKalb Police command as well as the newly appointed fire chief. There were several state senators, representatives and business interests whose names I could not get. The turnout was probably 90 percent of the capacity at the Chapel Hill MS cafeteria. The main focus of these sessions is to provide information and updates about what our representatives in state and local positions are doing. I commend commissioner Watson on his efforts. He not only brought in elected officials, but also in attendance were county employees who discussed an overhaul to the county’s personal care home ordinance. There was also a representative from the Department of Watershed Management who explained why we should not be pouring grease or grease containing foods down our drains. A representative from Autism Speaks was in attendance as well, and she provided info on the upcoming walk for autism.  For me the highlight of the program was when a young kid diagnosed with Autism took to the microphone to present a painting of his to Watson. All was not peaches and cream though. I came away from the session a bit more informed about some issues, but was less than enthusiastic about the representatives we put into office. My very first impression was that this was some sort of fraternity of politicians where, if you were not a member,  your concerns took a backseat to the handshakes and pats on the back by members of the fraternity and their friends. A quick chat with Lee May about crime along the River Road corridor yielded an answer about development planning along Bouldercrest to River Road. Not to be downplaying any plan for redevelopment, but I was more concerned about the quality of life crimes that are so prevalent along River, Panthersville, and Flatshoals Pkwy. I told Mr. May that if the county allows those subdivisions to fall, it would be like pushing over dominoes. Once one falls the others will surely follow. Even a talk with one state representative (I cannot name him since I got in a question without identifying myself and my intentions) about HB 428, yielded a shrug of the shoulders and a reply of I don’t know. HB 428 is an annexation and incorporation bill for North DeKalb and Brookhaven area. I for one believe that the many wounds that afflict parts of South DeKalb are self-inflicted, but I would expect our leadership to have our best interest at heart when they decide to run for political office. Given the turnout  for this session, I think there are plenty of folks in South DeKalb trying to keep the area from total disaster. I wonder if the politicians we elected have the same desire.

South DeKalb failing like parts of Atlanta did 20 years ago

December 13, 2010 6 comments

Is South DeKalb the Atlanta of 20 years ago?

I have been in Atlanta for nearly 23 years save a six year stint in the service, when Atlanta became a destination more so than home to me. When I left the military, Atlanta metro was a natural choice for me. I was young Enthusiastic and ambitious. My new bride and I settled on Memorial Drive in the mid-90’s. The glory of Memorial had been gone for a while, but it was still an OK place. We both were on the cusp of finishing up college and planned for a better life in the future. As our careers started moving forward so did our desires for a better place to live. We moved to an apartment in the Emory area that was close to my wife’s job, and allowed me easy access to MARTA, after all we had only one vehicle at the time and we had to stay near MARTA. We enjoyed our time there, but longed for a house with a yard for kids and a dog and some privacy. We looked in the Emory area( too expensive), we looked in Douglas(too far out), Cobb(Couldn’t see it) and DeKalb. DeKalb was a nice mix. It was not too far away from the things we liked to do. It had a nice mix of social strata, and it seemed a great balance between city and suburb. We settled on South DeKalb for many reasons, but price and proximity to my mother-in-law led the Way. We wer young and Idealistic at the time. We had no kids so we didn’t even think about schools. We thought we would buy this house, do some work on it and try to sell it after 5 or so years. that was the plan. Had we known in advance that we were moving into what was going to be a massacre of foreclosures, we would have stayed in our cozy little apartment, but hindsight is always 20/20. Now some seven years later, South DeKalb, has become home. My wife has several family members in South DeKalb, and we love the proximity to Stonecrest, Downtown, and Decatur. The problem is that there is nothing for us in South Dekalb outside of family and our home. It has made us think whether or not we should hold out for an eventual resurgence or if we should cut our losses and abandon South DeKalb. For those who have been in Atlanta for a long time, you can see the resurgence that happens when capital and desire flows into an area. East Lake and Kirkwood were horrible places to be in the 80’s. Now one is a model for resurgence and the other is a go to destination for entertainment and living. East Atlanta, and even Grant Park were areas where people avoided. Now they are hot properties. Glenwood Park, Edgewood, the list goes on and on. So I have to ask myself, will the same resurgence happen here. I look at South DeKalb mall and think to myself what a great location. It is less than a ten mile drive to downtown. It is a straight shot to downtown Decatur, and even Stonecrest is an easy drive. It sits between two interstates and has quick access to the airport. It is a very walkable area because of the density of the homes and businesses in the corridor. Yet it is suffering, with little relief in sight. I cannot think of any major redevelopment in the Candler corridor in more than ten years. South Dekalb mall has had makeovers, possibly to it’s detriment, but the areas around the mall are third rate at best. No quality entertainment. No quality dining. Nothing that says this can be the next happening place in the metro. Leadership at the county and community level needs to step up. South DeKalb needs to shape an identity. Be it entertainment, specialty shopping, or even a sporting destination. Land prices there are be ripe for redevelopment when the economy turns the corner. County leadership and community leaders should be prepared to jump on the opportunity when it arrives. If we all sit back and wait, then South Dekalb will be Atlanta all over again. I Hope to see a resurgence soon, because I do not know how much longer I can hold on. And I am sure there are many who think similar to me on this issue.

 

Corey Wilson attempting to salvage campaign, reputation

October 25, 2010 10 comments

OK, here we go again. All of a sudden candidates for school baorad are showing up as criminals. First it was Jay Cunningham and his three-decades old felony conviction. Now the wave has hit Corey Wilson, the golden boy in district 3 may have hit a speed bump on his way to the school board. According to the AJC, Wilson is suppose to come clean on a few arrests of his own. According to public records, Wilson has been arrested on several occasions including the 2006 arrest for simple assasult that the AJC dug up. The assault was a misdemeanor. The AJC could not confirm that a booking photo of Wilson was truly him. There is no doubt that the person in the booking photo is Wilson. The fact that this particular offense is recent,  is what is most disturbing.  Here is a man that was in his mid-30’s and got caught up in criminal proceedings in the court system. Not a good example at all. To his credit, Wilson went through a pre-trial diversion program which he completed successfully, and the case was eligible for expungement. The 2006 case was pleaded out to Nollo Prosse with no conviction on his record. The charge in question revolves around a dispute between himself and his wife. I questioned Wilson on the details, but he said it was a private matter. Wilson and his wife recently celebrated their 12th anniversary. I have talked to Corey Wilson in the past, and he really is a genuinely concerned parent. Part of the reason he accepted the Nollo plea, according to Wilson, was to protect his children from any embarrassing and drawn out court appearance. Wilson admitted that he has made mistakes in the past, but wants people to judge him as a whole and not as the few parts divulged in the media. The first time we talked, he told me his life story damn near (minus this of course). We spent more than an hour on the phone really connected. His story was my story. It is truly possible that we may have crossed paths but never knew it.  Now, here we are, 40 years old, we are husbands, fathers, we work in the community and we really care about where we live. I am not going to change my overall opinion of Wilson based on these recent revelations though I will follow him with a much more cautious eye. I had already pledged my vote for Wilson, and I will probably follow through on that. I think Wilson should have come clean early on. I know he probably thought people would crucify him for it, but coming clean and explaining the circumstances would have gone a long way in mending any doubts that lingered in people minds. I hope that Wilson has learned a valuable lesson from this. I also hope that he knows that, even if he wins, he has a very short leash to work with. Any misstep, and he can be ousted very quickly, and his aspirations of higher offices dumped as well.

 

Here is an updated story from the AJC with some details

Seized money to law enforcement

March 23, 2010 Comments off

2010-03-23_ITEMG2.PDF (application/pdf Object).

Tooling around the counties march meeting agenda, I ran across the above little nugget. It seems the county took a wire transfer of some half a million dollars from seized drug assets. According to the PDF the money is supposed to be used for law enforcement. I wonder how many of these monies the county gets on a yearly basis. Seized drug profits and the sales of confiscated property would plug a few holes in the Public Safety department, Don’t you think.

Categories: Budget, Police Tags: , ,

Dog owner should be charged more harshly

March 16, 2010 Comments off

Charge filed against owner of dogs that attacked 8-year-old  | ajc.com.

A misdemeanor reckless conduct charge. That is what a DeKalb homeowner faces after two of her dogs attacked an 8 year old playing in her yard. This is part of the reason why people do not care that their dogs are roaming the streets. There really is no punishment. This girl has had several surgeries, and will be scarred for life both physically and mentally. She will live with this event for quite a while. According to Georgia Code: The dog owner faces

a fine not to exceed $1,000.00 or by confinement in the county or other jail, county correctional institution, or such other places as counties may provide for maintenance of county inmates, for a total term not to exceed 12 months, or both

The dog owner will probably get probation and a fine if this is a first offense. She will forget about this after a while, and move on with her life. She will probably own more dogs and the possibility of this happening again does not diminish.  If this were an isolated incident, then I might understand the charges, but this is a problem. Dogs wandering neighborhoods and attacking people is not isolated, and happens far more often than is seen on the news. There is the old saying that the punishment should fit the crime. A $1000 dollar fine and a year in the local jail is far less suffering than what the victim and her family will have to go through.

Categories: Crime, Society Tags: , , ,

Litterbugs be damned

March 16, 2010 Comments off

as I drive around South DeKalb, one thing that really gets me fired up is the amount of trash that seems to flourish on public streets, parks and in parking lots of private business. I was at home this past weekend working on a project in my garage when a car drove into our cul-de-sac. Like any normal person I watched the vehicle and was shocked at what happened as the car turned around in the circle. On of the passengers tossed a bag of trash out of the window onto the street. He didn’t do it quick as if not to be seen, but he dropped the bag without a care as to who may be watching. I, of course, walked down and picked the bag up and put in my trash can. This was not the first time I had seen someone toss trash out of the window without regard to what the trash does to the neighborhood. My best friend tossed some fast food trash out of the window of his truck one day, and when I called him on it his response was “better on the street than in my truck.” His attitude was one that I find too prevalent in black communities I have been in. Tossing trash out of your car is acceptable in too many areas in South DeKalb.. The idea that it littering is OK is devastating to the pride of those who live in these communities. One hallmark of when you have left the “bad” area is that the amount of trash on the streets decreases exponentially. My parents taught me when I was young that trash goes in the trash can. It does not belong in the streets, it does not belong in your car, and it does not belong on the floor. If I have trash in my truck, I put it in a bag that I have designated as the car trash bag. When I am able to, I put that bag in the trash. Whether it is at my house, or at a gas station or some other business. Littering is a quality of life issue. It harms no one, but it can devastate a neighborhood none the less. Maybe the county should double the fines for littering. Our litter laws are probably enforced only when you have been found to be doing some other ill, but doubling the fine would definitely grab the litterbugs attention

Categories: Society, Uncategorized Tags: , , ,